Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Although Anderson Silva had struggled to become a pay-per-view draw for the UFC, every MMA fan tuned in to witness one of the greatest fighters of all time meet the American challenger Chris Weidman.
Like watching a classic Mike Tyson fight, fans knew they were going to witness a beautiful display of annihilation.
At UFC 162, fans expected Silva to bring the destruction, but they instead witnessed the fall of a champion. The Brazilian engaged in his usual manner of taunting, attempting to get inside the head of Weidman. Instead of allowing Silva to win the mental game, Weidman remained focus and landed a left hook that sent Silva spiraling to the canvas.
Weidman followed his opponent to the ground, and the fight was quickly stopped. Silva had lost the title and with it, his aura of invincibility.
“The Spider” sounded like he was heading for retirement but quickly changed his tune to “I back” and was ready to face Weidman in a rematch. The fight took place at UFC 168 in one of the biggest cards of 2013.
The lead-up focused on fans claiming that Weidman simply got lucky or that Silva wouldn’t have lost if not for the taunting. Those claims were put to rest at UFC 168.
Weidman soundly beat Silva in the first round of the rematch and even knocked him down. In the second round, he checked a kick, and Silva collapsed to the canvas in a heap of pain. A broken leg would spell the end of the fight and quite possibly Silva’s career.
Fans have argued for both sides, with those claiming Weidman as the true middleweight champion seemingly growing in number by the day. There’s still doubt among some fans, but the fact remains that Weidman is the UFC middleweight champ and will be a focal point for the UFC hype machine moving forward.
The two fights with Silva set the MMA world on fire, as the story had so many angles to discuss.
Did Silva finally get what was coming to him for taunting? Was he finally showing signs of decline? Is Weidman really that good? Will Silva come back?
Those are just some of the questions that helped make Silva vs. Weidman one of the biggest stories of 2013.